Prayer Journaling: How it Can Activate Your Prophetic Gift

What is Prayer Journaling?

"The power of prayer journaling" text on photos of bridge amongst trees.Prayer journaling is writing down your prayers and questions, and then listening to the Holy Spirit and recording God’s answers. It is a great way to activate your prophetic gift.

I have to confess that I approached the practice of ‘Prayer Journaling’ this week with a bit of trepidation, even though I have used this method of journaling before. It feels presumptuous, to write down God’s ‘answers’ to my prayers and questions.

Does God really want to speak to me conversationally? And how can I know for sure what He is saying?

In John 10:27, Jesus said, ‘My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me’.

As I set out, I am encouraged that God desires an intimate relationship with me even more than I want it with Him—He created me to fellowship with him and to hear His voice!

How to Practice Prayer Journaling

It’s important that you set aside some private space for this kind of journaling. Try to eliminate interruptions and distractions as much as you can.

I personally find that some quiet background worship music helps me focus if I don’t have the luxury of silence in my home, or wherever I happen to be.

It is vital when approaching this journaling practice that you deal with any issues between you and God—forgiveness, repentance, and so on—before you start out.

Reading the Bible and praying in the Spirit can help you prepare for your prayer journaling time.

In your journal, you write down your prayer or question to God. Some examples are:

  • What would you like to say to me today?
  • How can I grow?
  • What would you like me to do?
  • What are You saying about…

Then, focusing on Jesus, you listen for the Holy Spirit’s answer and write down what you believe He is saying.

How the Holy Spirit Speaks

Remember that the Holy Spirit brings revelation to us in many ways. He may speak through a picture coming to your mind, a feeling, a Bible verse, an idea, a word, or an impression.

I find that the Holy Spirit’s ‘voice’ usually comes as a series of light, gentle impressions. I need to tune in to these to hear what He is saying.

Although it is good to weigh up the revelation and thoughts as they come, too much analysis will halt your journaling.

Give yourself the freedom to write without editing. Yes, what you record will inevitably be a mixture of your own and God’s thoughts. Remember that any prophecy is imperfect and subject to judgment.

When you have finished, review your journaled ‘message from God.’ Now you can sift through your writing for the nuggets of heavenly wisdom God is giving you. I like to use a highlighter to mark important parts where I believe God is particularly speaking to me.

Use the same criteria for your prayer journaling that you use when weighing up any prophetic word.

If you believe you have received guidance through this kind of journaling, it is vital that you check this by sharing with mature Christians and leaders around your life who will give you honest feedback and help you process it.

Some strengths of prayer journaling are:

  • Fosters intimacy with God
  • It helps you become familiar with the ways the Holy Spirit speaks
  • Great practice for tuning in to receive God’s revelation
  • Helps you receive guidance and prophetic insight for yourself and others
  • You have a record you can refer back to of what God has said to you in your prayer time

Some weaknesses of the prayer journaling method are:

  • It does not use the Bible in the journaling process
  • Less suitable for newer Christians who do not have a thorough grounding in the scriptures (I recommend the SOAP journaling style for new Christians)
  • This style will not suit everyone, e.g. it will be harder for those who are perfectionists or tend not to process thoughts conversationally.

Because of these weaknesses, I advocate the use of other journaling methods in conjunction with this one.

Prayer Journaling and Habbakuk

A leading proponent of prayer journaling is Mark Virkler who teaches journaling from Habakkuk 2:1,2. [1]

Virkler maintains that God speaks through a flow of spontaneous thoughts and that as we tune into those we can hear what He is saying.

Just as God instructed Habbakuk to write down his vision, we can also record what God is saying to us through journaling.

The Challenge

Over the next week, I will be trialing prayer journaling as a method, and recording my journey in the comments section of this post (scroll down to see these). Why not join me?

To review my comments and share your own journey throughout the week, check back here.

Prophetic Journaling: Create Your Treasury of Insights from God

Now available as an Online Course, with Opportunities for Activation

Are you interested in learning about, and being activated in prophetic journaling?
Here is my brand new course, “Prophetic Journaling with Activation” with my best tips and insights and downloadable templates to help you get started.
Throughout this course, you will:

  • Identify the ways journaling will help you develop your prophetic gift
  • Refresh your journaling practice with new ideas, tools, and approaches
  • Download and print templates to help you get started
  • Put into practice what you have learned and activate your gift
  • Access advanced content, to help you develop your prophetic gifts further
  • Hear my best tips to help you share your work with others

Includes instructions and a template for prayer journaling.
Sign up for the prophetic journaling course here
, or see all courses including the Prophetic School here.

[1] For a reference to Mark Virkler and his book, “4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice”, visit his site here

Related Articles

How to Activate Your Prophetic Gift

Take Time to Sharpen Your Prophetic Gift

© 2023 Helen Calder, Enliven Blog

Enliven Ministries: Prophetic ministry for a revival generation

25 thoughts on “Prayer Journaling: How it Can Activate Your Prophetic Gift”

  1. DAY 1
    Have the journal, a nice long space of time to hang out with God, and a burning question as I start out the year. Only problem is, I have a few mental hurdles to get over as I set out to do the prayer journaling (perfectionism, for one!)

    I console myself with the recent purchase of a shredding machine. If I really DON’T like what I’ve written, or it comes out all wrong, and it’s me and not the Spirit, I give myself permission to shred it. Armed with this sense of liberty, I compose my question and begin to write what I believe God is answering me.

    8 ½ pages later….. 🙂 I review what I’ve written. Funny, my criticism of this kind of journaling was the lack of scripture for a basis, but numerous Bible verses (as well as pictures) are in my God-response. Throughout the ramble, there is a theme in that seems to be God’s word for me. I believe that the Lord has spoken to me through this process.

    I would say that I am quite surprised at how helpful this has been! The pages will stay in the journal, safe from the shredder. Thank you Jesus!

  2. DAY 2
    Decided to tackle the ‘Tough Questions’ with God today about my present circumstances—you know, the kind of questions you’re afraid to hear the answers for.

    Wrote them down.

    Stared at the page for a long time.

    Thankfully, had decided to put some great worship music on (God bless Dennis Jernigan) and it helped me get over the hurdle of putting that pen back on the paper.

    As I wrote down what I perceived God was saying, at first the answers seemed to be the ‘obvious’ ones, but something about starting to write broke through the barrier.

    A couple of pages of scrawl later, there was reassurance, but also some valuable instruction and refocusing.
    Why did I think listening to God might be ‘unsafe’?

  3. DAY 3:
    Started the journaling time by going back over the last few entries with a highlighter, and am encouraged by the awesome gems of encouragement I have received.

    My journaling time tonight was made difficult by the volume of conversation happening in the adjoining room (not The Hunk, our younger generation!) I turned my worship music up and put a hand over my ear closest to the door and pressed on.

    In spite of these challenges, I did receive and write something of value in response to the question I put before the Lord, and will process it over the next few days.

    So far, I believe that prayer journaling will help me develop my prophetic gift, and certainly am encouraged by the revelation I have received. However, until I have an opportunity to put prophecy into practice verbally, I can’t be sure how much writing prophecy has been of assistance… watch this space.

  4. DAY 4:
    Limiting myself to a week of prayer journaling has seemed like having rich desserts for dinner every evening and missing out on the vegetables. But in spite of having a hankering yesterday for my usual journal style of mind-mapping, I found myself really looking forward to this time today.

    I didn’t feel like asking questions, so after reading some scripture, I just made a note to the Lord in my journal of how much He means to me and how much I long for His Presence.

    Stared at the journal. What am I expecting—a love note back from Jesus? Seems to be an odd thing to do—write your own message from God.

    But decided to fire away, and wrote an awesome 1 ½ pages—in part of which the Lord was calling me back to worship and intercession (been a bit light in those for a while) ‘for worship is the language of love and of the throne room of heaven.’

    I can see now that prayer journaling really fosters intimacy with God. So its value in terms of sharpening the prophetic gift lies not only in recognising and communicating revelation, but also in getting into that place of communion with Jesus.

  5. Day 5:
    12 hour day out today on a church staff day… my journaling was opened with reflective thanksgiving.
    My observation today is that sometimes I sense God speak to me from a different perspective. Today it was as Commander of His army, strengthening, encouraging and giving me instruction. Other times He has spoken as Father, or Comforter, or the Beloved. He’s awesome!

  6. Day 6:
    In spite of my exhaustion last night, the journal was amazing. Out with the yellow highlighter again.

    Prayer journaling has been such a powerful tool this week that I am determined to keep using it regularly.

    I have found it helpful when starting out the ‘message from God’ part of the journal, that if something doesn’t flow straight away, to just start writing with the revelation from Him that I already know.

    Like priming the pump, very quickly I seem to receive fresh revelation and every time I’ve journaled I can look back at one insight or more that has been a remarkable Word from God for me personally.

    This insight may be helpful for exercising the gift of prophecy, too.

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